A few years ago, USA TODAY Sports released a list of the biggest NFL draft busts of all time.

With another NFL draft on the horizon, it’s a good time to revisit that list.

One of the first things that stands out to us is the Cardinals’ connections.

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According to that USA TODAY Sports list, the 24th biggest bust of all time was Steve Little, a punter and placekicker that St. Louis drafted No. 15 overall in 1978.

Yes, the team took a kicker No. 15 overall. The Cardinals could have had Doug Williams or Ozzie Newsome with that pick.

The 13th biggest bust of all time, according to the list?

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None other than Matt Leinart.

We know that Leinart didn’t live up to expectations with the Cardinals, but is he really the 13th biggest NFL draft bust ever? Isn’t that a little harsh?

One could argue that Leinart was never given a fair shot in the NFL, that a coaching change from Dennis Green to Ken Whisenhunt derailed him.

Who knew that Kurt Warner, who coincidentally was not drafted, would find the fountain of youth in Arizona?

RELATED: Arizona Cardinals NFL draft history – QBs | WRs | RBs | DBs | LBs


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Another Cardinals connection on the list is Arizona’s current quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer, a bust? Hardly.

He is just mentioned as the exception in terms of a string of Bengals quarterback busts.

Cincinnati has reached for many QBs in the first round through the years including Jack Thompson (1979), David Klingler (1992) and Akili Smith (1999).

RELATED: Cardinals’ first-round draft picks since 2000: Hits and misses

The No. 6 bust of all time on the list is Johnathan Sullivan, a defensive tackle who was drafted No. 6 overall by the Saints in 2003.

The Saints could have had Terrell Suggs, Jordan Gross, Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha, Anquan Boldin or Osi Umenyiora with that pick.

Cardinals fans know the Saints’ pain.

MORE: Cardinals have had success with undrafted quarterbacks

Arizona had the No. 6 pick that season, but chose to trade down, giving the pick to New Orleans.

The Cardinals then took Penn State wide receiver Bryant Johnson at No. 17 and Wake Forest defensive end Calvin Pace at No. 18.

Yes, Suggs would have looked good in a Saints’ uniform.

But the former Arizona State and Chandler Hamilton High standout would have looked really good in a Cardinals’ uniform.

NFL DRAFT RANKINGS: Top WRs | QBs | RBs | CBs | Safeties | LBs

For more from The Heat Index, go to heatindex.azcentral.com.

To see USA TODAY Sports’ complete list of the biggest NFL draft busts of all time, click here.

Follow Jeremy Cluff on Twitter.

MORE: 20 Arizonans have been first round NFL draft picks

MORE: Arizona’s first round draft picks – NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB


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